Annalee Estelle | 14 & 15 Months

Our sweet pea! You're little personality is so curious, sweet and full of sugar. You have a set of lungs on you girl, and we ALWAYS know when you are in the room. You are trying so hard to talk - and instead just squealing when you want something. You have learned a few new words and are getting better at pointing instead of just screaming. Well, sometimes.  You love being outside, climbing, eating and playing with your dolls. Every day you grow so much and are just a sponge, soaking up everything we do and mimicking. We took our first family beach vacation and you loved the beach, pool and being in the water. You were a trooper on our 14 hour trek from the coast and back. We also had a fun visit with your Gramma and by the time we left you had warmed up to her enough to take a bottle. We put away lots of baby stuff this month.... including bottles and the drying rack, baby toys, rattles and tons of 12 month clothes. Next is a new car seat. You are wearing 18 month clothes, size 4 diapers and size 5-6 in shoes. You have seven teeth all in the front!

Funny things you've done...
Taking the keys to the door knob and trying to open it.
Putting things (anything) in the trash can.
Walking to the tub when it's time for a bath and putting your arms up for me to take your clothes off.
Playing hide-n-seek around the sofa and kitchen island.
Mimicking eating with your mouth when your doll house kitchen says, 'It's time to eat!'
Rocking your baby doll to 'Rock-a-bye Baby'.

14 month highlights:

-You love your Melissa & Doug board puzzles and are getting pretty good at putting the pieces back into place. You're favorite is the zebra. We often find you with it in your hand.

-By 7am you are ready for breakfast. You walk right over to your chair and pull it out to get in. ha!

-You've learned to crawl up into the chair by yourself and are so proud when you do. You sit with a big smile and 'rock, rock'.

-You're babling is so cute. 'boop, be domp, be do'

-You love to play with mom's old set of Snow White and the 7 dwarfs. Sneezy is your favorite  - you will look down the line until you spot him - then you laugh and scoop him up to tote around the house with you.

-Love milk! Now taking 4-5 bottles a day, 4 oz at a time, every 4 hours.

-You have learned how to climb. O boy!

-Bedtime is 7/8pm and you are up around 6am. Such a good sleeper.

- Boy do you have a set of lungs on you. You are certainly a squealer!

15 month highlights: 

- The bottles are all packed away! We moved you to a sippy cup of milk on August 20 and so far, you are still loving your milk. You get 3-4 cups a day, at breakfast, after lunch, sometimes an afternoon snack and before bed.

- You love the water, especially bath time.

- Lots of new words this month, including ma-ma, hot, ice, up, hey, hi, helllooo... talking to your play phone and you also said Mimi.

- You love to eat; some of your favorites include avocado, cheese, chicken, cucumbers, strawberries, bananas, pulled pork, grapes, apple sauce, green beans, pops and yogurt. You love feeding yourself with your spoon and are getting better with the aim. We let you use some little cocktail forks and you like that - usually you take the food off the fork before it makes it to your mouth, but you love holding it.

- You love to brush your teeth at bedtime. Still working on after the bottle, but for now, after dinner is a good start. We do put you down in your bed awake and you just curl up with your baby doll and go to bed.

- Bedtime is 7pm and you usually wake up around 7/7:30am.

- Toy favorites include your little people doll house, books - especially those with flaps to pull down, puzzles, dolls, stacking cups, magnetic blocks, water toys, balls, v-tech walker, picnic set and tea pot.

- You have become a little doll thief! haha You started stealing your friends dolls, so we bought you a set of twins, Abbey and Emma, so you can have your own and share too.

- You can go up and down a couple steps no problem. Sometimes sitting on your bottom and other times just stepping up or down on your own.

- You love to dance and start moving anytime the music plays now.

We love you baby girl!!


Five for Friday: HBD Papa Sam

It's Fri-YAY! And we have another weekend at home on the horizon, which makes me so very happy. Don't get me wrong - I loved all of our summer trips - but the thought of no packing {which is good, considering my suitcase is still in need of unpacking from two weekends ago} and not having to strap little miss in a car seat for umpteen hours - is good for the soul.

Thought I would join in a Five on Friday.

One. Wishing a super-duper Happy Birthday to my Pops!! Sending you lots of love from Virginia. Wish we could be there to celebrate with you today, but we're toasting with you in spirit. We love you SO!!

Two. Cortibalm has been a savior for my lips these days. If you're looking for a good lip balm. This is it! My pharmacist ordered it since they didn't carry it in store, but you can also get it online pretty cheap.

Three. Last week I added this lovely to my Ulta order {to get to my $50 for free shipping} and it was a great little find! It smells so good - takes me back to the islands - and adds great lift to my long locks. Will be a repeat for sure.

Four. Has anyone tried TredUp for selling clothes? I cleaned out my closet once already this summer. And I just feel like it's time once again. This time, dress clothes and dresses, which are still in style and cute, but I'm just tired of them. So I ordered a sell bag from ThredUp and thought I would send them off to be sold or donated. We'll see if I have any luck. They say they only buy 40% of what they receive.
Five. Tomorrow is our local Community Festival in downtown Lex. I was the chair of the festival in 2013 and this year my hubs is the chair. We have over 200 craft and art vendors that line the streets of downtown... music runs throughout the day and everything from kettle corn to funnel cakes fill the air. It's such a fun little small town fest - where you see all the usual suspects. Certainly looking forward to it!

Cheers to a great weekend friends!


Homemade Pops + The Best Shredded Pork

Our girl loves being outside. She loves water even more. Last night after work we pulled out the water table - which she 'asks for' everyday by pulling it round the porch - and had some end of summer fun. The crisp cool mornings have me excited for fall, pumpkins and football... but I'm a little sad to see summer go. I already miss the beach, and decided we needed to soak up as much of summer as we can before it slips away.
Ok, on to the homemade pops. I finally found some good molds that actually work - meaning they will pop out of the container without breaking to pieces - and they are perfect for little hands. I found them on Amazon for less than $10 and free prime shipping. Score! They have been our go-to snack at the river, at the beach and for nights on the porch.

Instead of fruit juice, I've just been chopping up some fruit, adding a splash of lemon, lime or orange and filling with water. It's the perfect balance of sweet... however, maybe my last batch were a little tart! haha

That was after the first lick... she did end up loving it. Even though her face does not say so. 

I also wanted to share our favorite crockpot pork recipe. It's light and, dare I say, moist and o, soooo delicious! It's a toddler fav - and just five ingredients too. 

1-3 lb. pork tenderloin
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 cup water
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
1/4 cup honey 
Black Pepper to taste 

Place pork loin in crockpot, coat with black pepper, garlic, and honey. 
Stir water and vinegar together and pour over top of pork loin. 
Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Shred with forks and serve! 


My Cajun Favs

Thanks for all the love yesterday. Still working on this balance... but we had a fun night - even after my meeting, we crashed the playground and took an extra long time in the tub for some water fun! Also, the hubs will be home late tonight, so I'm looking forward to breakfast with the fam.

Today I thought it would be fun to share my favorite cajun goodies. My grandmother is from New Orleans... hints my mommas accent, dark tan and cooking skills. We didn't necessarily grow up on all cajun cooking, but I can certainly say that I'm picky when it comes to jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo or a shrimp boil. My mom has forever spoiled us. So, what are our favorites?

Swamp Fire - the only thing we use for shrimp boils. It's got some kick!

Zapp's - Voodoo are my fav! I will eat the whole bag in one sitting - no kidding.

Essence - The only spice we use on chicken and fish.

Woeber's Sweet and Spicy Mustard - a new fav! OK, it's not really cajun... shhh! But it's spicy and sweet, and seriously, the best sandwich mustard ever.

During our family beach trip we took a trip to Rouses - a new cajun grocer that has moved to town. We were in heaven! Are you a cajun fan? What are your favs?


Balance is my aim.

Balance. Not 50/50. More like 70/30 at the moment. 70 being work and 30 being a mom.

I've learned lately that working a 40+ hour a week job is not easy when you want to give your toddler 100%. Especially when you throw in volunteer meetings, phone calls, fundraisers, etc. Now throw in a work trip for the hubs.... and any hours there were left for workouts, blogging, and extra activities is truly thrown out the door.

I'm still standing on my two feet at the moment, but I feel so guilty.

When I'm having to get ready for work while chasing Annaleee around in the mornings... thinking this is the only hour I get wither when I'm not feeding her, bathing her, and trying to get her to bed. All she wants is my undivided attention. Read a book? Play with my doll house?

Then I feel guilty when I walk in 5 min late for my 8:30 meeting at work. Again. Second day in a row... b/c I wanted to spend an extra 5 minutes talking to Annalee's sitter.

Then I feel guilty leaving work at 4:30pm to squeeze in a 20 min run and shower... before I have to get Annalee at 5:15 and head strait to a work event. Guilty. I'm late picking her up... she is ALWAYS the last one there. Guilty, I left work early to go run.

Guilty I'm dragging Annalee to a work event - where I chase her around an hour, while trying to keep her away from anything brake-able... while balancing a glass of wine and trying to be social. ha!

Guilty we get home at 6:30, so I have 30 minutes to bathe her and get her to bed before we have a delirious toddler on my hands. Guilty I don't have more time with her.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. How do I do it? How do all you mommas do it?

Send me some love. Ideas. Suggestions. Maybe it's just a phase...  This too shall pass, right? ha!


42 Years ago

42 Years ago today, rain showers poured over the streets of Mobile, flooding cars and closing roads. But it couldn't stop the wedding bells. On August 17, 1974, at St. Pius X Church in Mobile, Al, Sam and Debbie tied the knot in front of hundreds of family and friends - who braved the rain to celebrate the couple. There may have been a bridesmaid with a dress that was all sorts of colors, and a groomsman that passed out during the mass, but the show went on!

Mom wore a beautiful simple white dress hand made by my grandmother herself. With a full length lace veil borrowed from Aunt Sissy. The ten bridesmaids wore a rainbow of colorful dresses, 2 blue, 2 pink, 2 yellow, 2 green and 2 purple. Off the shoulder with a ruffle top - who knew my mom was so stylish?

Even though my Dad begged to were his baby blue suede suit, with a ruffled shirt - the men wore simple black tuxes, and Dad saved the blue ruffles for the going away outfit. Thank goodness mom put her foot down on that one.

A reception followed the mass in the fellowship hall, where pimento cheese sandwiches and champagne punch was served. {Man, things were so much easier in those days.} My grandmother also made their beautiful 5 tiered wedding cake that also had a fountain underneath. It was so beautiful!

So much has happened since that hot, rainy August day - 3 kids, 9 grand-children.... countless first days of school, family beach vacations, graduations, weddings and lots of lots of sacrifice. I hope that today you celebrate YOU.
Today they are celebrating 42 years at Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach. Their favorite 'stay-cation' spot. Cheers to you, Mom and Dad! 


Beach Week 2016

It was our first family beach week and it was truly the best. Let's just say we are ready to book our getaway for next year already. Originally we had planned to find a place in the OBX. But, with neither of us being from there, and knowing nothing about it - we opted to head south instead. Where we know the beaches are sandy white and the water is warm, warm, warm. My family was also close by and could come join us of for a couple days of fun in the sun! Sorry the picture overload, but I couldn't leave any out.

We rented a condo at Pheniox East, right by the Alabama Pass and just across the street from where Jesse and I got married.

Lots of coffee was needed for our 13 hour drive to the Gulf Coast. 
But we made it!!! And you can hear the ocean...
And we got lots of snuggles with GranDe!
...our view from the back balcony. Water all around. 
The cousins came on Sunday.

This one is 6 going on 13. 'Aunt Tracy, can I have a fun glass like you?' Surrree....
Early morning balcony games.
And walks on the beach.

Splash pad below.
Made for lots of fun!

Sunsets, every night.
Shrimp Boil!

Our lil Flora Bama gal.
Lots of beach time.

And naps.

Dinner at The Gulf

When we weren't soaking up the rays, lots of of olympics to be watched in the condo.
And family walks every day.
And fun times at Tacky Jacks during our last, and rainy, day there. 
And a trip to the Bama as well. 

Next time, a full week for sure! Until next time.